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Are you curious to know the differences between SDR and BDR? Most of the time, people use these terms interchangeably. However, there are some differences between the two. Read further as we try to explore the nuances of SDR vs BDR. 

Both are important roles in a sales team, but they have distinct responsibilities. They play a critical role in building a prospect pipeline. Both positions belong within the internal sales team and help a company generate an effective revenue machine by streamlining the sales cycle. 

Who is an SDR? 

Every sales team should have an SDR (Sales Development Representative). SDRs are in charge of identifying, contacting, and qualifying potential customers. They frequently collaborate closely with marketing and other teams to identify the best prospects. 

Also, they participate in developing lead-generating initiatives including email newsletters, social media posts, and online advertisements. As you can see, by providing businesses with quality leads and filling their pipelines, SDR plays a crucial part in supporting corporate growth.

They are in charge of initiating discussions that eventually result in meetings for the AE (account executive) to close a deal.

Extra resource: Top 10 SDR tools to Boost your Productivity

Role of an SDR

  • Conduct research to identify potential customers
  • Reach out to prospects through various channels
  • Qualify leads based on specific criteria such as budget, timeline, and decision-making authority
  • Set up initial meetings or calls with potential customers to determine if they are a good fit for the company’s offerings
  • Nurture leads until they are ready for a sales pitch
  • Handoff qualified leads to the sales team

Who is a BDR?

A BDR is responsible for finding new business possibilities and cultivating connections with prospective customers. In order to provide leads and stimulate pipeline activity, BDRs often collaborate closely with marketing departments.

BDRs are frequently the company’s initial POC (point of contact) with potential clients.  Hence, they must be adept at developing trust, qualifying leads, and providing excellent customer service.

Role of a BDR

  • Identify potential customers through research and market analysis
  • Create a target account list and develop a strategic outreach plan
  • Reach out to prospects through various channels, such as email, phone, and social media
  • Build relationships with prospects to understand their needs and pain points
  • Identify new business opportunities and expand the company’s customer base
  • Hand over the qualified opportunities to the sales team

What happens if you don’t have dedicated sales reps

The following statistics show that companies with SDR or BDR teams perform better. 

Having dedicated reps to handle prospecting and lead qualification tasks can also free up SDRs to focus on closing deals, leading to improved overall sales performance.

  • Companies with dedicated sales reps had a 15% higher lead-to-opportunity conversion rate than those without one. (source: Zety)
  • 67% of best SaaS firms have SDRs or BDRs for prospecting, compared to other companies. (source: Aberdeen Group)
  • Companies with an SDR/BDR team had a 30% higher win rate on opportunities that went through a formal sales process compared to those without one. (source: TOPO)
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If a company doesn’t have dedicated sales representatives, it can affect the company’s overall sales performance and revenue growth. Here are some of the potential consequences:

  • Inefficient sales process: Without dedicated sales reps, the sales process may be inefficient, leading to lost opportunities, wasted time, and missed revenue.
  • Limited sales capacity: Sales tasks may fall on other team members who may not have the necessary skills, experience, or bandwidth to handle them effectively. This can limit the company’s sales capacity and impact revenue growth.
  • Poor lead quality: Sales tasks, such as lead qualification and prospecting, are time-consuming and require a certain level of expertise. These tasks may not be done effectively, resulting in poor lead quality and lost opportunities.
  • Reduced customer engagement: Sales reps are often the primary point of contact with customers. The company may not be able to provide the necessary level of customer engagement, leading to reduced customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Missed revenue targets: The firm may struggle to meet its revenue targets, leading to missed growth opportunities and potential financial instability.

In summary, having dedicated sales reps is crucial for a company’s sales performance, revenue growth, and overall success. Without them, the company may face various challenges that could impact its ability to generate revenue and compete in the market. 

Suggested Read: The Yin and Yang of B2B Sales: Outbound SDR and Inbound SDR

SDR vs BDR: Key differences

While the SDR and BDR roles may share many characteristics, the BDR’s sales activities and contribution to the organization’s sales funnel are distinct from those of the SDR.



  • Cold Calling: SDRs must be comfortable making a high volume of calls to potential customers to identify those who are interested in the product or service.
  • Email Outreach: SDRs need to be proficient in crafting and sending emails that grab the attention of prospects and encourage them to take action.
  • Social Selling: With the rise of social media, SDRs must be able to use these channels effectively to generate leads and engage with potential customers.
  • Lead Qualification: SDRs need to qualify leads to ensure that they meet specific criteria before passing them to the BDR or AE.
  • Appointment Setting: SDRs are responsible for setting up appointments for the BDR or AE to take the next steps in the sales process.


  • Managing the Sales Pipeline: BDRs need to be highly skilled at managing the sales pipeline, keeping track of leads, and moving them through the funnel.
  • Negotiating with Prospects: BDRs need to be skilled at negotiating with prospects to close deals and bring in revenue for the company.
  • Upselling and Cross-Selling: BDRs need to be able to identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell existing customers.
  • Managing Customer Relationships: BDRs are responsible for managing relationships with customers to ensure they are satisfied with the product or service and identify opportunities for repeat business.

Inbound vs Outbound

  • SDRs are responsible for following up on inbound leads that are generated by the company’s marketing efforts, such as website visitors who fill out a form or convert through an ad.
  • Inbound leads are typically warmer and more interested in the company’s products or services.
  • BDRs are responsible for generating outbound leads through cold-calling, cold-emailing, and other lead-generation efforts.
  • Outbound leads are typically colder and may not be as familiar with the company’s products or services.
  • BDRs focus on initiating contact with prospects and identifying potential customers.
  • SDRs focus on qualifying inbound leads and moving them through the sales funnel.

Check out the Outbound Sales Process: A beginner’s guide (2023)

Skills required

  • SDRs need to be excellent communicators who can quickly build rapport with potential customers and identify their needs and pain points.
  • Persistence, resilience, and organization are also key skills for SDRs, who need to be able to manage a high volume of leads and follow up consistently over time.
  • BDRs, on the other hand, need to be skilled negotiators who can close deals and upsell customers effectively.
  • Product knowledge, relationship-building, and strategic thinking are also important skills for BDRs, who need to understand their customers’ businesses and identify opportunities for growth.

Compensation and Career Growth

  • SDRs and BDRs are typically compensated with a combination of base salary, commission, bonuses, or other incentives.
  • While BDRs may have higher earning potential in the short term due to their ability to close deals, SDRs may have more opportunities for career growth over the long term, as many AEs and sales managers start their careers as SDRs.
  • Both roles offer the potential for career advancement and leadership positions, as well as the opportunity to develop valuable sales skills that can be applied in a variety of industries.

The following table summarizes the key differences between an SDR and a BDR. 

Points of differenceSDRBDR
FocusOn generating new leads by identifying potential customers who are the ICP. These leads are closed by the AEs. On nurturing these leads and building a relationship with them. The emphasis is on generating leads or prospects within their territory rather than immediately handing them over to AEs. 
ResponsibilityTo move qualified leads through a sales pipeline. To build the sales pipeline. 
Funnel StageWork with Top of the funnel stagesWork with the Middle and bottom of the funnel stages
Outreach methodsUse Cold calling and email outreach to generate new leadsUse personalized email campaigns or social media outreach to nurture existing leads.
Skill set requiredCommunication skillsRelationship building skills
KPIs measured Lead conversion rates, pipeline velocity, and sales revenueEmail open rates, Response rates, and Engagement rates 

Sales cycle stages: SDR vs BDR role 

Both SDRs and BDRs play a crucial role in the early stages of the sales cycle. SDRs focus on qualifying leads and nurturing them until they are ready for a sales pitch. While BDRs focus on identifying and developing new business opportunities. 

Both roles involve using various channels such as email, phone, and social media to reach out to prospects and engage with them.

  • SDRs are responsible for identifying and qualifying leads for the sales team. They typically work with marketing teams to nurture leads until they are ready for a sales pitch. 
  • BDRs are responsible for identifying and developing new business opportunities. They work closely with sales leaders to create a prospecting strategy that aligns with the company’s overall goals. 

Hence, both roles primarily cater to the early stages of the sales cycle. 

Extra resource: The Winning Script for First Cold call

SDR vs. BDR: Which is Right for You?

When deciding between pursuing a career as an SDR or BDR, it’s important to consider your skills, interests, and career goals.

  • If you enjoy building relationships and have strong negotiation skills, a career as a BDR may be a good fit for you.
  • If you are a strong communicator and enjoy the challenge of identifying new leads and prospects, a career as an SDR may be a better fit.
  • It’s also important to consider the potential for career growth and earning potential in each role, as well as the specific requirements and responsibilities of each position.

Career path and Salary of an SDR and a BDR

The salary of a BDR versus an SDR can vary depending on factors such as industry, location, experience, and company size.

That being said, in many cases, BDRs tend to earn a higher salary than SDRs. This is because BDRs typically have more experience and responsibility. They are focused on developing new business opportunities and expanding the customer base. While SDRs are responsible for identifying and qualifying leads for the sales team.

Salary ComponentsSDRBDR
Base salary$40 – $62k$50 – $75k
Bonus$3 – $10k$5 – $15k
Commission$3 – $15k$10 – $30k
Total Compensation$46 – $87k$70- $120k

Note that the figures mentioned in this table are based on Glassdoor data (United States). These are subject to change based on various factors such as company, industry, location, and experience level.

Final thoughts on SDR vs BDR

Understanding the differences between SDRs and BDRs is crucial when pursuing a career in sales. SDRs and BDRs have different responsibilities and require different skill sets. SDRs focus on lead generation and identifying potential customers, while BDRs focus on closing deals and managing relationships with customers.

When deciding between pursuing a career as an SDR or BDR, it’s important to assess your skills, interests, and career goals. Networking and gathering information can also help determine which role might be the best fit.

Compensation and career growth opportunities also differ between the two roles. While BDRs may have more earning potential in the short term, SDRs may have more opportunities for long-term career growth.

In summary, whether you choose to pursue a career as an SDR or BDR, finding a company that aligns with your values and offers opportunities for growth and development, as well as a supportive culture and management team, is key to success in either role.